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Elevator crushes man at Phnom Penh building worksite

A construction worker was killed yesterday at a building site in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district after he was crushed in-between floors while on a moving elevator, local authorities said.

According to Chaktomuk commune chief Choun Sokun, 21-year-old Eng Lum was ascending the unfinished nine-storey building in the elevator when he heard a cracking noise from above.

He stuck his head out to investigate while passing the third floor, at which point his head was crushed against a bar as the elevator continued to move upwards.

He died instantly and the incident was judged an accident, Sokun said.

“The family has accepted the compensation from the owner of the site and we are happy for [the family]. This is not a murder, it was an unintentional accident,” he added, declining to name the company.

Yann Thy, secretary-general of the Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia, said that authorities were too lax when it came to ensuring proper workplace standards.

“Up to 90 per cent of accidents are caused by poor standards of technical equipment,” he said, declining to comment on yesterday’s case as he still had yet to visit the site.

Nonetheless, Thy said that there was a gap in oversight between the Ministry of Land Management, which issues construction permits, and the Ministry of Labour.

He called on the two government agencies to come together and release a prakas clearly defining standards and responsibility for enforcement at Cambodian worksites.

His union recorded more than 2,000 injuries and 36 deaths on Cambodian worksites last year.

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